New Chair for Creative Scotland

Feb 13 2018 | By More

Jupiter Artland founder to chair top arts quango

Robert Wilson, the co-founder of Jupiter Artland and chair of Nelsons natural healthcare company, has been appointed chair of the Creative Scotland Board.

He will take over from interim chair Ben Thomson with immediate effect with his first engagement being the board meeting this week on Friday 15 February 2018. The appointment runs for four years until February 2022.

Robert Wilson new chair of Creative Scotland

Ben Thomson took over the chair following the death of the previous and much respected chair Richard Findlay in July 2017.

When Ruth Wishart resigned from the board in January over the Regular Funded Organisations fiasco, she did not criticise Thomson directly.

However Wishart noted that he brought a “different style and temperament to the party” while praising Findlay’s management style and ability to find consensus saying: “He understood the necessity of fostering good relationships with the staff team and of liaising with government, but he also valued independence of mind.”

The news of Wilson’s appointment comes as the Herald is reporting that Ben Thomson and Creative Scotland CEO Janet Archer have been asked to give evidence to Scottish Parliament’s Culture Committee at its next meeting on February 22.

accountable to parliament

According to the Herald, committee convenor Joan Mcalpine said: “All MSPs on the committee felt that as creative Scotland is accountable to parliament and a major recipient of public money, recent events require to be scrutinised.

“We are interested in the process of how such decisions are made, what the strategy is, and what needs to change and improve. MSPs previously expressed concern at the regional distribution of RFO money and I imagine that will come again too.”

Besides being co-owner of the family firm of Nelsons, the UK’s largest natural medicines producer, Robert Wilson has a strong history in involvement with the arts.

He and his wife, the sculptor Nicky Wilson, set up Jupiter Artland in the grounds of their home at Bonnington House, to the west of Edinburgh. He has served as Chair of Edinburgh Art Festival, a Trustee of Little Sparta Trust, a Trustee of the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh and a Trustee of the Dovecot Studios. He was made chair of the RBGE board’s Arts Advisory Group  at its October 2017 meeting.

Announcing the appointment, Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “Robert brings a wide range of leadership experience in the commercial, philanthropic and charitable sectors, with particular experience of the arts, including festivals and the visual arts.


“I welcome the leadership that he will bring to Creative Scotland in taking forward their future strategy and supporting Scotland’s vibrant creative sectors.”

Janet Archer, welcomed the appointment saying: “I am looking forward to working with him over the next period. Robert has a long history of supporting the arts and creative sectors and a deep knowledge of the visual arts.”

Robert Wilson said: “Creativity has the power to touch all aspects of a nation, and the Scottish people have long embraced culture with a passion.

“To be appointed Chair of Creative Scotland is an enormous honour and one I am extremely proud to accept.

“I look forward to working with my fellow colleagues from across all aspects of the sector to celebrate and champion the vibrant cultural scene that belongs to Scotland.”


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